The Case Against Cliff-Diving

Alan Blinder states the case against going over the “fiscal cliff” and presents his counter-plan:

First, avoid the cliff by settling on the broad outlines of a budget agreement and then kicking some cans down the road. Specifics can come later. (By the way, please don’t kick all the cans to the same stopping point again.)

Second, as “earnest money” toward an eventual deal, join hands and enact something Republicans dislike and something Democrats dislike. It will show you are serious.

Third, extend the debt limit at least until the budget deal is completed, which could easily take months.

I don’t see how this plan, particularly the second step, can be reconciled with the idea of politics as a zero-sum game in which making your opponent lose is the object.

2 comments… add one

  • jan

    Much of the conversation on the right side is that the Obama negotiations are more purpose-driven to humiliate the republicans, bring them to their knees, create even greater political division between the hard right and moderates, making it easier in the ’14 elections to win more congressional seats.

    I can’t say that this is outrageous thinking, as that is what dems do best — politically strategize on how to win the next election. Their governance and leadership suck. But, they sure can get people on their side to vote for them. That’s why it’s more profitable for Obama to be engaged in this post-campaign type of rhetoric after the election, visiting toy factories etc., rather than rolling up his sleeves and tirelessly spending long evenings in frank and open discussions with the opposition party, in order to work out something that might salvage any possibility of experiencing the after-effects of the now vilified fiscal cliff.

  • I can’t say that this is outrageous thinking, as that is what dems do best — politically strategize on how to win the next election. Their governance and leadership suck.

    I can’t but wonder if there is not a cause and effect here. Humiliating and bringing the Republicans to their knees would strike me as precluding a considerable chunk of the policy “space” which if that precluded portion of the policy space contains decent and even good outcomes you pretty much assure yourself of a bad outcome.

    And the Republicans are almost surely guilty of it too. I recall that after the 2004 elections the Republicans were thinking much the same way.

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